The green crown-more than 300 plants


V. Rama Raju has more than 300 plants, including some rare species, all grown on the rooftop of his home at Kalyan Nagar

A 20-year-old cycas, 12-year-old cactus, 10-year-old ficus, and a motley collection is a reflection of V. Rama Raju’s passion for plants and greenery.

And such is his fascination for the plants that he has more than 300 plants including some rare species, all grown on the roof top of his home at Kalyan Nagar in the city.

Hailing from a farmer’s family in Bheemavaram, he always had love for plants and greenery. Despite moving to Hyderabad long back, this passion for plants did not diminish and he yearned to make his home and surroundings greener with different plants and trees.

There are over 10 varieties of fruit plants, 10 varieties of creepers, three varieties of cycas, four varieties of ficus, bonsais and many other plants and shrubs in his collection. Mr. Raju always tries to improve his collection and sets out looking for new and rare plants and shrubs at nurseries and other places.

“Once I was travelling back home from Sangareddy and at a roadside nursery, I found a rare cycas plant. It was very small and I had to shell out Rs.200 for it. Today, it’s over 20 years old,” recalls Mr. Raju.

But how did the idea of rooftop garden strike? It was more of a necessity than hobby. Two decades ago, there were no cars and not many two-wheelers in the apartment. All the plants and shrubs were grown in the parking area and as years passed, the number of vehicles increased and there was no option but to move all the plants to the roof, he replies.

Apart from fruits and flowers, he cultivates vegetables, especially leafy vegetables like spinach, curry leaves, mint and others. Everyday, he spends quality time in the rooftop garden and personally waters the plants, trims them and checks their growth.

Being a science graduate, he has basic knowledge about plants and cultivation and does not rely on any consultant. More importantly, he does not use pesticides for the plants.

Maintaining different plants in harsh summers, rainy and winter season is always a challenge. Many plants go dry in summer and pests attack during other seasons.

“Long back a friend of mine advised me to mix little quantity of neem oil, garlic liquid in water and spray it on the plants to keep pests at bay. It’s good for plants and works very well,” says the 63-year-old.

Rama Raju (Ph. 23716633) is secretary of Kalyan Nagar Residents Welfare Association and along with other association members he ensures there is lot of green cover in the locality and keeps planting different saplings.

contact: +91-0891-23716633, visakhapatnam, andhra pradesh state, India.

“Every month, I try to add at least one new plant in my rooftop garden. It’s also my habit to donate a sapling to people on important occasions,” he adds.

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